Sacraments and Liturgy » Penance

Penance

"'Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained'" John 20:23


The Sacrament of Penance (i.e. Confession or Reconciliation) is offered on: 

Thursdays after  8:30 AM Mass
and
Fridays from 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
or
by appointment

The value of Confession is twofold.  First, through this sacramental act of the ordained priest and the Christian believer we have the assurance of divine forgiveness, according to the words of Christ (John 20:23).  Secondly, Confession provides the opportunity to talk about one’s deep concerns, to receive counsel and to be encouraged toward spiritual growth, all of which are universally recognized as extremely beneficial to one's personal life.

Confession is appropriate whenever a Catholic feels the need for it.  It is also a part of our total spiritual preparation during the seasons of Advent and Lent.  However, Confession is especially necessary:

  1. when a serious sin has been committed;
  2. when a habitual sin has overwhelmed a Christian, or
  3. when a Christian has stopped growing spiritually and needs a reexamination of priorities.

We confess our sins to God and the power of forgiveness is God’s.  However, the gift of God’s forgiveness, although assured, is not magical.  It does not automatically spare us from spiritual struggle – the continual vigilance against evil and the unceasing warfare against sin.  Confession will bear fruits of the Spirit only when the believer hates evil, utterly rejects sin and patiently cultivates positive habits.

How can one prepare for Confession?  Preparation for Confession is a prayerful examination of feelings, thoughts, words, acts, attitudes, habits, values, priorities, goals, direction and way of life.  This prayerful self-examination includes not only the personal faith life, but also family relationships, social activities, job conduct, business dealings, political commitments and even recreational pursuits, because our entire existence should be lived in under the light of the Holy Spirit.  This self-examination is not to condemn ourselves, but to affirm our true selves in Christ who has given us access to God’s mercy and forgiveness and who has taught us to live for God’s glory.